Ingredient Spotlight: Marine Collagen

September 21, 2020

Ingredient Spotlight: Marine Collagen

In this article:

  • Explaining the role and importance of collagen protein
  • Why is Marine Collagen different?
  • Collagen benefits
  • Marine Collagen & physical activity
  • Marine Collagen & aging
  • Potential side effects
  • How to use Marine Collagen & what to look for in a Marine Collagen supplement

First, what the heck is Collagen anyway?

Collagen is the most abundant protein in our bodies and accounts for about a quarter of our total protein mass. There are many types of collagen; each has a unique amino acid profile and works in conjunction with the other types of collagen to serve different parts of the body. For instance, types I and III are commonly used together to improve skin elasticity and help heal the gut. Roughly 80 to 90% of the collagen in our bodies belongs to Types I, II, and III.

  • Type l: This is the most abundant type of collagen in your body, mostly found in your eyes, skin, tendons, bone, and teeth. Type I is used to help reduce fine lines and wrinkles, strengthen skin and nails, and heal the gut’s lining.
  • Type ll: Mostly found in your joints and cartilage, this type is great for improving joint health.
  • Type lll: This is the second most abundant type of collagen and its benefits mirror that of Type I. That’s why you’ll often find these two types used together.

The four main amino acids in collagen are glycine, proline, hydroxyproline, and arginine, all of which help our bodies remain in good health by providing the building blocks for hair, skin, muscles, tendons, nails, and more.

What is Marine Collagen?

Marine Collagen is a complex protein extracted from the skin of fish that can be consumed in food or drink in order to improve our skin and bone health. In order to extract marine collagen, fish skins left over from food production are thoroughly washed in order to remove any toxins then hydrolyzed by a food-grade enzyme to yield Marine Collagen peptides. Their low molecular weight makes it easy to digest and absorb into the body. In fact, collagen peptides sourced from fish are up to 150% more bioavailable than bovine or porcine collagen. For this reason, it often gets the nickname of being the Rolls Royce of collagen.

Health Benefits of Collagen

Collagen has great benefits for your overall health. Even though the production of collagen from our body naturally declines as we age, outside sources of collagen in the form of food & supplements can help us to slow down that process. By the time we reach the age of 30, our bodies start to produce less collagen every year. Here, we begin to notice the more visible signs of aging like wrinkles in our skin or less flexibility.

Type l collagen provides structure to skin, tendons, bones, ligaments, and other connective tissues. Studies have shown that it helps your joints move more easily, reduces pain often associated with aging, and even reduces the risk of joint deterioration.

Type ll collagen helps your bones, joints, muscles and ligaments. Although Marine Collagen doesn't contain the minerals you'd typically associate with bone health, one study from the National Institute of Medicine suggests that it may help support the absorption of calcium, phosphorus, and other minerals into the body.

Another area where collagen is beneficial is for the health of your gut. Two amino acids, glycine, and glutamine may be particularly helpful, as they both play a role in supporting the tissue that lines the digestive tract. Glycine is particularly important for helping to reduce inflammation. For this reason, many people take marine collagen when managing inflammatory gut conditions. Glycine also promotes better quality sleep by maintaining core body temperature.

Marine Collagen & Physical Activity

Many yogis, cyclists, and even powerlifters have started to reap the benefits of marine collagen for building lean muscle mass, increasing flexibility, and speeding up recovery times. Studies show that two collagen constituents, glycine and hydroxyproline, can boost muscle cells and create larger muscle tissue. Arginine, another amino acid found in collagen, has also been shown to preserve the collagen that’s already in the body and boost strength during exercise. Collagen not only helps you to maximize your time spent in the gym, it can also help reduce recovery time after workouts too by alleviating muscle pain and repairing the tissues and joints which have been damaged during a workout.

Graceful Aging Benefits of Marine Collagen

Studies have shown that oral supplementation with collagen peptides may improve signs of skin aging by promoting elasticity and hydration. Collagen is "responsible for keeping skin pliable and young-looking," says Gretchen Frieling, M.D., a board-certified dermatopathologist. Type lll collagen has been shown to help regain the balance between collagen degradation and production as we age, resulting in stronger, smoother, and healthier skin.

Marine Collagen also contains properties for anti-aging. In one recent clinical study, marine collagen peptides were combined with plant-derived antioxidants and were found to improve skin properties including elasticity, sebum production, epidermal/dermal thickness and collagen density after 2 months of supplementation. A recommended dose of 10 grams (or 2 tablespoons) a day of marine collagen is optimal for skin health.

One small study from the National Institute of Health showed that when people took an oral supplement containing mainly hydrolyzed type I collagen, after 60 days their facial lines and wrinkles appeared smoother, and their skin maintained healthy moisture levels.

Another recent study demonstrated that the daily ingestion of bioactive collagen peptides increased nail growth and improved brittle nails in conjunction with a notable decrease in the frequency of broken nails.

If you're someone who struggles with cellulite, this one's for you. It's said that marine collagen improves cellulite morphology. Dietary supplementation of specific collagen peptides has been shown to have a BMI-dependent beneficial effect on cellulite morphology and appearance.

Glycine, which is the most abundant amino acid in marine collagen, has been proven to help people improve their sleep. Ingestion of glycine before bed can help to maintain self-perceived satisfactory levels of sleep quality.

Marine Collagen Side Effects

Marine Collagen is absorbed more efficiently into the body than other animal-based collagens because of its small molecular size but the body doesn't simply absorb marine collagen as a whole. Rather, it breaks the collagen down into its individual amino acids, which are then absorbed and utilized by the body.

There are rarely any side effects that accompany Marine Collagen. In some studies, few people have reported that it leaves a bad taste in their mouth, while others have reported minor bloating and digestive upset. These are rare occasions, however, and the majority of people who take marine collagen do not experience these symptoms. Overall, collagen is much more likely to help improve digestion than disrupt it. Of course, if you are allergic to fish it is not recommended. You might want to opt for collagen peptides sourced from a bovine source instead.

How to take Marine Collagen

One of the major reasons why collagen is so popular is because it’s both easy & versatile. There are a multitude of ways you can take it. Marine Collagen powder can easily dissolve in hot or cold liquids or be added as a supplement to your morning meal. Think eggs or yogurt. Most powders come unflavored and do not contain any odor, which makes it easy to blend in with your favorite drink or meal. Once you’ve consumed collagen, it breaks down into absorbable collagen peptides and amino acids which then turn into useful peptides that benefit the body. Simple as that.

Marine Collagen is like a super supplement. At just ~30 calories per 10g serving, it is over 97% protein and contains no fat, sugars, or carbs. Due to its low-cal, high-protein make up, it can help to give that extra energy boost you need to power through a workout and allow you to recover while avoiding muscle loss post-workout. It can also help intermittent fasters to replenish energy between meals and feel fuller longer without approaching their calorie-intake threshold. It’s pescatarian, keto, and paleo friendly, making it easy to incorporate into the diet you’re already following.

What to look for in a Marine Collagen

The healthiest, cleanest collagens should have nothing to hide. When shopping for a marine collagen supplement, here are a few things to keep in mind.

Marine Collagen should be derived from sustainably wild-caught fish to avoid any added hormones or antibiotics from farmed fish. Most collagen brands will tell you right on the label if they use wild-caught fish, so if that’s missing, it’s your first red flag. Secondly, avoid products with any sweeteners or flavors added to the mix, as they’re often used to mask any taste or odor left over from impurities. For extra third party verification of the purity of the product, you can also look out for collagens that have non-GMO or “cGMP” certifications on the label.

Whether you’re looking for more radiant, youthful skin, joint support, or a little extra energy for your workout, a little scoop of Marine Collagen is easy to incorporate into your everyday diet without skipping a beat!

Article Summary

  • Collagen is the most abundant bodily protein. 80-90% of collagen in your body consists of Types I, II, and III
  • Marine Collagen is derived from fish and it is up to 150% more bioavailable than bovine or porcine collagen
  • Marine Collagen supports lean muscle mass & flexibility which makes it an ideal superfood for physically active individuals
  • Collagen is important for preserving youthful skin as we age and as natural collagen production declines
  • Marine Collagen is low-calorie pure collagen protein and it contains no fat, sugar, soy, or carbs
  • Choose a Marine Collagen supplement that is non-GMO, sugar-free, and contains no artificial sweeteners
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